Tourism taskforce recommends €150m loan scheme for businesses

Loans to help those in tourism sector survive until restrictions lift and demand returns

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

A taskforce set up to drive the recovery of the Irish tourism industry post the Covid pandemic has recommended a €150 million loan scheme to help the most vulnerable businesses in the sector.

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin will bring the final report of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce to Cabinet on Tuesday seeking Government approval.

The taskforce was set up in May and had 14 members, most drawn from the tourism sector and was chaired by Ruth Andrews of the Incoming Tour Operators Association.

Its main recommendation is for a €150 million tourism-specific loan scheme, made up of €50 million of State investment as well as a €100 million credit facility from the Strategic Infrastructure Fund. It is understood that this fund would allow loans to help tourism businesses survive until restrictions are lifted and demand returns.

A total of 813 individuals and entities responded during a public consultation process, and, separately, 60 organisations made submissions.

Its other recommendations are believed to include adjustments and continuity of the employee wage support scheme, €120 million in business continuity grants, and a return to the lower 9 per cent VAT rate for the tourism and hospitality sectors (it was increased by the last government to 13.5 per cent).

The taskforce has argued that a vibrant tourism sector will be as integral to the national economic recovery post-Covid as it was in the jobs-led recovery after the last recession.

Separately, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers is also expected, along with Ms Martin, to bring a progress report on the five-year action plan for the Irish language to the weekly Cabinet meeting.